Eight thousand solar panels have been installed on the roof of Wolseley UK’s National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Leamington Spa, capable of generating enough electricity to power around 450 homes a year*.
Wolseley UK is part of Wolseley plc, the world’s largest trade distributor of plumbing and heating products and a leading supplier of construction materials. As part of its commitment to green energy solutions, a roof area of 13,113m² – roughly the size of two football pitches – has been covered in 8020 PV panels, along with 24 inverters, at Wolseley UK’s head office site.
The installation, carried out over a 6 month period, is set to produce 2 megawatts of electricity per year and could generate £6.5 million over 20 years under the government’s Feed In Tariff (FIT) for commercial buildings.
At full capacity output the system will completely power Wolseley UK’s National Distribution Centre as well as creating a 10% energy surplus.
The payback period of the installation is 6.8 years, which means the NDC will receive free energy after seven years. Wolseley UK will also achieve carbon savings of around 1280 tonnes per year, helping to improve the Leamington Spa site’s environmental performance, which is already rated by BREEAM as "very good".
Steve Ashmore, Managing Director, Wolseley UK said: "As a business, we are committed to sustainable building. We opened the UK’s first commercial showcase for sustainable building products and construction methods, our Sustainable Building Center, in 2008. And we are continuing to lead the way by investing in the technology that we advocate.
"We are already seeing some fantastic environmental and cost savings from our PV installation and I hope that our success will inspire our customers into adopting green energy solutions, due to the significant results they can achieve."
As well as showcasing the renewable products that Wolseley UK supplies to customers, which are on sale via Plumb and Parts Center, the installation boasts two unique innovations to maximise energy efficiency and site safety.
Exhaust air from the inverters is channelled into the building’s heating systems, potentially generating around 80kW of additional heat. A safety feature has also been built in which means panels will disconnect if the fire alarm is activated, due to the automated DC breakers situated within the string fuse boxes, which are connected to the building’s fire control system.